Recently on WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair, the two-time WWE Hall of Famer interviewed former WCW Executive Producer and President, Eric Bischoff. During the two-part interview, Flair and Bischoff spoke on many topics including Flair's part in Bischoff taking over WCW, the infamous WCW Thunder incident between the two, Bischoff's legacy in professional wrestling, and why so many WCW talents were not brought over to WWE at the time of the sale of WCW to WWE.
According to Flair, Bischoff came to power in WCW following Flair's recommendation to former WCW Vice President, Bob Dhue. As the story goes, Ole Anderson, who was booking for WCW when Flair returned to the company in 1993, saw no value in Flair after he put over Mr. Perfect, the late great Curt Hennig, on Flair's way out of WWE.
"Ole Anderson says to me, 'what good are you to me after putting over Curt Hennig on national TV last night?'," Flair said. "I was so pissed off at him that I walked next door to Bob Dhue and I go, 'Bob, it's me or him'. He said, 'well, who can run the company?' and I said, 'there's a guy downstairs right now who is pretty creative.'"
Flair said he put over Bischoff as being contemporary, fun, and full of good ideas. Bischoff substantiated Flair's account of the events leading to Bischoff's promotion in WCW.
Bischoff claimed that he had no fear of failure when he took over WCW; however, being 60 years old now and having failed as often as he has succeeded, he would probably look at things differently today than he did in his younger days. Bischoff indicated that Turner President, Bill Shaw, told him that WCW owner, Ted Turner, was prepared to shut down WCW in the wake of the Bill Watts controversy if the company was not turned around.
"At that point, I felt like, 'okay, I've got nothing to lose because if somebody doesn't do something, if we don't turn this thing around, I'm going to end up losing my gig anyway' and I just had no fear of failure at that time and at that age."
As for the April 1998 incident where Flair no-showed an episode of WCW Thunder, Bischoff admitted to making bad decisions and bad choices at that time, though he was trying to put a stop to inmates running the asylum, so to speak.
"I felt, from my point of view, the wheels had been starting to fall off. The talent was getting more and more difficult to manage. And, by the way, remember, this is when talent had somewhere else to go." Bischoff added, "Back then, gamesmanship was at an all time high, probably in both companies, and because of that, I was making bad decisions".
Despite the long and tumultuous history between Flair and Bischoff, 'the Nature Boy' stated that the worst thing Bischoff asked him to do was to job to Konnan.
"On a personal note, the worst thing he ever asked me to do was in Birmingham, Alabama when he asked me to put who over? What's that guy's name again? The Mexican guy? What's his name? Konnan! We were in Birmingham and I said, 'why am I doing this?' and he said, 'because I'm telling you to.' I'll get that off my chest. And where's Konnan now? Jesus Christ!"
When asked about his legacy in professional wrestling, Bischoff stated that Monday Night RAW being live to this day and the Attitude Era happening as a result of pressure from WCW are sources of pride for him.
"There are reminisce of the way I changed the business that WWE still does to this day. 'Live on Monday nights', well, that didn't happen out of the blue. That happened as a result of what I did and how I forced them to elevate their own game. There [are] a lot of things."
Bischoff clarified a common misconception of professional wrestling fans that many WCW stars were paid to stay at home when WWE purchased WCW because such talents were under Time Warner deals as opposed to WCW deals. Bischoff suspected that WCW talents who were paid to sit at home were really people who WWE decided not to pick up.
"My guess is it was more discretionary on the part of WWE than some kind of contractual advantage that certain talents had because they had a big Time Warner contract over a WCW Entertainment contract." Bischoff added, "I'm guessing that the WWE probably said at the time, 'okay, there are these guys under Time Warner/WCW contracts - we can either bring them in or not.' I would imagine that WWE just decided 'it's not worth paying a Bill Goldberg whatever Bill Goldberg was making,' a couple million bucks a year or whatever it was. It's not worth bringing in certain people. They're not going to inherit that contract if they don't have to. And some of those contracts probably looked like, 'you know what, that's a reasonable deal - lets inherit that one.'"
Source: WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair